Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Theresa May at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou Getty

The Chinese president has said he is willing to "show patience" with the UK in what is regarded as a comment regarding the building of the multi-billion pound Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset.

During talks at the G20 summit in in Hangzhou, president Xi Jinping added he was "open to a bilateral trade arrangement" with Prime Minister Theresa May and welcomed plans to introduce a "golden era" of trade between the two nations without explicitly mentioning Hinkley Point, according to a Downing Street official.

The £18bn ($23bn) project, which was first announced in October 2013, is set to be the first nuclear power to be built in the UK for decades and expected to provide 7% of the country's electricity once completed. The plant was set to be part funded by China as part of plans strengthen ties between the UK and China.

However, the deal, which was agreed upon by former PM David Cameron, has come under scrutiny from May, who is reported to have expressed concerns about China's investment in the project. The project was due to be approved by French company EDF but May placed the project under review in July. Around one third of the total investment would come from China.

"Xi said that they wanted to look at how we could strengthen our trading and economic relationship and that China was open to a bilateral trade arrangement with the UK," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, reported Reuters.

"He recognised the new government would need to take some time before reaching decisions on some agreements pushed by the last government. President Xi said that they had the patience to wait for a resolution on those issues."

May's decision on whether to go-ahead with the Hinkley Point arrives at a crucial times as the prime minister seeks its new role in world trade since the UK voted to leave the EU. The decision is set to be made by the end of September.

May previously said: "This is a golden era for UK-China relations and one of the things I will be doing at the G20 is obviously talking to President Xi about how we can develop the strategic partnership that we have between the UK and China.

"The message for the G20 is that Britain is open for business as a bold, confident, outward-looking country and we will be playing a key role on the world stage. My ambition is that Britain will be a global leader in free trade."